Features Partner Sites Information LinkXpress
Sign In
Demo Company

Brown Fat Research Advances with a Ground-Breaking MRI Scan

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 05 May 2014
Print article
Image: The first MRI scan to show “brown fat” in a living adult could prove to be an essential step towards a new wave of therapies to aid the fight against diabetes and obesity (Photo courtesy of Warwick Medical School).
Image: The first MRI scan to show “brown fat” in a living adult could prove to be an essential step towards a new wave of therapies to aid the fight against diabetes and obesity (Photo courtesy of Warwick Medical School).
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is the first to show “brown fat” in a living adult, and could provide vital information for new treatments to aid the fight against diabetes and obesity.

Researchers from Warwick University Medical School (Coventry, UK) and University Hospitals Coventry (UK) and Warwickshire NHS [National Health Service] Trust used MRI-based technology to identify and validate the presence of brown adipose tissue in a living adult.

Brown fat has become a heated subject for scientists because its ability to use energy and burn calories, helping to keep weight in check. Understanding the brown fat tissue and how it can be utilized is of growing interest in the search to help obese individuals or at a high risk of developing diabetes.

Dr. Thomas Barber, from the department of metabolic and vascular health at Warwick Medical School, explained, “This is an exciting area of study that requires further research and discovery. The potential is there for us to develop safe and effective ways of activating this brown fat to promote weight loss and increase energy expenditure--but we need more data to be able to get to that point. This particular proof of concept is key, as it allows us to pursue MRI techniques in future assessments and gather this required information.”

The study published January 2014 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism described the advantages of using MRI scans over the existing method of positron emission tomography (PET). While PET imaging reveals brown fat activity, it is subject to a range of limitations including the challenge of signal variability from a changing environmental temperature.

In contrast to the PET data, which only displays activity, MRI can show brown fat content whether active or not, providing a detailed insight into where it can be found in the adult body. These data could become vital in the development of future therapies that seek to activate deposits of brown fat.

Dr. Barber added, “The MRI allows us to distinguish between the brown fat, and the more well-known white fat that people associate with weight gain, due to the different water to fat ratio of the two tissue types. We can use the scans to highlight what we term ‘regions of interest’ that can help us to build a picture of where the brown fat is located.”

With the proof of concept study now completed, the next phase of research is to further corroborate this technique across a larger group of adults.

Related Links:

Warwick University Medical School
University Hospitals Coventry

Print article



view channel
Image: Left: Green actin fibers create architecture of the cell. Right: With cytochalasin D added, actin fibers disband and reform in the nuclei (Photo courtesy of the University of North Carolina).

Actin in the Nucleus Triggers a Process That Directs Stem Cells to Mature into Bone

A team of cell biologists has discovered why treatment of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) with the mycotoxin cytochalasin D directs them to mature into bone cells (osteoblasts) rather than into fat cells... Read more


view channel

Molecular Light Shed on “Dark” Cellular Receptors

Scientists have created a new research tool to help find homes for orphan cell-surface receptors, toward better understanding of cell signaling, developing new therapeutics, and determining causes of drug side-effects. The approach may be broadly useful for discovering interactions of orphan receptors with endogenous, naturally... Read more

Lab Technologies

view channel
Image: The new ambr 15 fermentation micro-bioreactor system was designed to enhance microbial strain screening applications (Photo courtesy of Sartorius Stedim Biotech).

New Bioreactor System Streamlines Strain Screening and Culture

Biotechnology laboratories working with bacterial cultures will benefit from a new automated micro bioreactor system that was designed to enhance microbial strain screening processes. The Sartorius... Read more


view channel

Purchase of Biopharmaceutical Company Will Boost Development of Nitroxyl-Based Cardiovascular Disease Drugs

A major international biopharmaceutical company has announced the acquisition of a private biotech company that specializes in the development of drugs for treatment of cardiovascular disease. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (New York, NY, USA) has initiated the process to buy Cardioxyl Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Chapel Hill, NC, USA).... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2015 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.